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China's BRI new opportunity for deepening mutual cooperation with Africa

Source: Xinhua Updated: 2022-08-26

KIGALI -- The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will provide African countries with new opportunities to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in line with the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, Chinese Ambassador to Rwanda Wang Xuekun said Wednesday.

"As of July this year, over 140 countries have signed BRI cooperation agreements with China. A large number of cooperation projects have been launched and benefited local economies and people's livelihood," said Wang while speaking at a one-day virtual forum -- "The importance of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to Africa."

According to him, Africa is one of the most active participating directions in the BRI cooperation, adding that 52 African countries and African Union Commission have signed cooperation agreements with China.

"Our efforts have yielded tangible and substantial progress. Since 2009, China has been the biggest trade partner of Africa for 13 consecutive years. Last year the bilateral trade between China and Africa reached 254.3 billion U.S. dollars," said Wang.

"Chinese enterprises have built or upgraded more than 10,000 kilometers of African railways, 100,000 kilometers of highways, nearly 1,000 bridges and almost 100 ports and over 80 large-scale power facilities under infrastructure cooperation," he added.

Chinese firms have helped countries in Africa to build more than 130 medical facilities, and more than 170 schools and trained more than 160,000 professionals in various areas, said the ambassador.

"We have made good progress in implementing the BRI. The people in Africa are getting real benefits. These achievements in our cooperation have not come easily. All these have injected the strong impetus into the China-Africa comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership," he explained.

Wang said that China always remains embedded in the principle of sincerity, real results, amity, and good faith as well as the principle of pursuing the greater good and shared interests.

China and Africa have re-affirmed to fully implement the nine programs under the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, he said.

According to him, with constituent efforts between China and Africa, FOCAC has become an important platform for collective dialogue and cooperation.

Speaking at the meeting, Mohamed Libaahe, minister of livestock and animal husbandry in the Puntland State of Somalia, said that BRI has yielded tangible results that are beneficial to African economies.

"In Africa, we need cooperation, collaboration, and benefit from our natural resources and we find that China through BRI will boost our efforts to transform our economies," said Libaahe.

He pointed out that BRI has supported the construction of a highway that connects Djibouti to Ethiopia as well as a railway from Mombasa to Nairobi which has impacted economic activities in the region.

"I believe BRI is such an initiative that we need so that our people can benefit from those mega projects. I am proud that Somalia is one of the signatories of the BRI," said Libaahe.

Proposed by China in 2013 to promote common growth and gain shared benefits, the BRI involves infrastructure development, trade, investment facilitation, and people-to-people exchanges aimed at improving connectivity on a trans-continental scale.

China has been Africa's largest trading partner for more than a dozen years.

Under the BRI, the two sides have multiplied their efforts to cooperate.